Our approach

Our performance

Every year, we report on our sustainable development performance through a number of channels. In addition to the performance highlights in our Annual report, we publish information on our programmes and performance data on these web pages.

We also report under other voluntary commitments. Read more here


We're committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for our employees where their rights and dignity are respected. We set out to build enduring relationships with our neighbours that demonstrate mutual respect, active partnership, and long-term commitment. In the long run, the trust that is engendered by these solid relationships will reinforce our ability to gain preferential access to resources. Read about our approach to safety, communities, health, people, and resettlement and compensation here


Respect for the environment is central to our approach to sustainable development. Wherever possible we prevent, or otherwise minimise, mitigate and remediate, harmful effects of the Group's operations on the environment. We have developed a number of practical programmes for environmental management, which include input from our local communities, as well as from experts in these fields. Read about our approach to environmental issues including the air, biodiversity, and climate change here


Sustainable development is underpinned by sustainable economies. Our continuing financial success is based on our ability to secure access to land, people and capital. We use our economic, social, environmental and technical expertise to harness these resources and create prosperity for our shareholders, employees, communities, governments and business partners. Read more here

Governance and business practice

Our reputation for acting responsibly plays a critical role in our success as a business and our ability to generate shareholder value. That reputation stems from our four core values: accountability, respect, teamwork and integrity. The way we work, our global code of business conduct, supported by our global policies, standards and guidance notes, in conjunction with the requirements of local law and our voluntary commitments, forms the basis of our governance systems. Read about our approach to governance, integrity, compliance, human rights, and more, here

Taxes paid in 2011

As part of our continuing commitment to transparency, this report brings together information on the payments we make to governments in each of the main countries in which we operate, as well as the taxes and net earnings of business units and other Group tax information. This is the second report of its kind and we will continue to publish this information annually.

The Rio Tinto Group paid US$10.2 billion of taxes during 2011, representing a 38% increase on the prior year. Our total tax charge for the year, including final payments due after 2011, was US$10.7 billion, which represents 40% of our underlying profit before tax. We are proud to be making a significant contribution to public finances in all the countries in which we operate. We welcome constructive debate on natural resource taxation policy as part of the overall contribution to economic development that responsible mining investments can make. Tax policy and design needs to take into account the cyclical nature of our industry and respect agreements under which investment capital has already been committed. For an industry that makes multi-decade investments, with significant up-front capital expenditure, the risk of fiscal instability will influence the global flow of capital and a country's ability to attract and retain investment.

We have chosen through this report to be transparent in disclosing payments we made to individual governments in 2011 and we support the principles of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). We believe EITI remains the best way to promote transparency of payments to governments. This should assist in the fight against corruption, and enhance the scope for citizens to hold their governments to account.

Given the existence and success of the EITI as well as its global reach, we do not believe mandatory rules for disclosure of payments to governments are necessary. However, given that such rules are currently envisaged by both the European Union and the United States, we believe governments should work together to adopt a consistent global approach, which establishes disclosure requirements and thresholds that are proportionate. We believe any mandatory rules need to remain focused on the ultimate objectives, both for governments and for companies: good tax governance, accountability, transparency, and the fight against corruption.

This report demonstrates that effective disclosures can be made by businesses on a voluntary basis. In a number of areas, including sustainable development reporting, voluntary transparency has been shown to encourage innovation in reporting. This includes proactive engagement with stakeholder audiences to develop reporting models. In response to comments received on last year's Report, we have included this year a breakdown of payments by levels of government and type of payment. At Rio Tinto we are committed to maintaining and improving our reporting and transparency so we would welcome feedback on the format of this report.

(by Guy Elliott, Chief Financial Officer, 16 March 2012) 

Download the Taxes paid in 2011 pdf

London 2012

Rio Tinto is proud to have been the official metal provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games and has provided over eight tonnes of metal for the 4,700 gold, silver and bronze medals. Read about it here

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